If you’re remodeling your kitchen or adding a bathroom, here’s some advice you’ll thank us for later: Choose ball-type shutoff valves instead of standard stop valves (Photo 1). Shutoff valves go unused for years. Standard valves have rubber washers that harden with time and other fussy parts that become caked with mineral deposits. Then—when the time comes to replace the faucet or fix the toilet—the valve won’t seal off the water flow.
Ball valves are simpler inside. A ball with a hole through it opens and closes with a quarter turn. Fewer complex parts, fewer things to go wrong. Ball valves almost never let you down. This reliability costs you only slightly more per valve. Ball valves are sometimes labeled “quarter turn” valves. If you don’t find them at a home center or a hardware store, call a plumbing supply store (search online or in the yellow pages under “Plumbing, Fixtures, Parts & Supplies”).